Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. was ordered to pay $27 million in special and punitive damages to homeowners in Ewa Beach who sued the Honolulu-based developer over its move to turn a long-planned marina into a recreational lagoon.
The Circuit Court jury on Tuesday awarded special damages of $1,300 per homeowner, which will triple under the state’s consumer protection law for 1,800 homeowners in Haseko’s Hoakalei and Ocean Pointe master-planned communities, and another $20 million in punitive damages, bringing the total to about $27 million, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Steven Chung, an attorney for Haseko, which is affiliated with Japan-based Haseko Corp., told the newspaper he planned to ask the court to set aside the judgement and order a new trial, saying juries cannot order punitive damages because of unfair or deceptive acts or practices, which was one of the claims in the class-action lawsuit.
Haseko said in November 2011 it would convert what was to have been a small boat harbor in the Hoakalei subdivision into a 54-acre recreational lagoon, citing a lack of demand for market-priced boat slips. The marina was dredged and built up many years ago, but Haseko never connected it to the Pacific Ocean.
Earlier this year, Haseko submitted a request to the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting to change the zoning of the previously planned marina into the lagoon.
Haseko President Tom Sagawa told the Star-Advertiser in a statement that the company is confident the punitive damages will be set aside and said the developer is “committed to realizing our vision of Hoakalei as a mixed-use waterfront recreational destination all can enjoy.”
Pacific Business News